Almost a quarter of respondents in a new poll say American politics have gotten so far off track that “patriots may have to resort to violence” to save the United States.
According to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), support for the use of violence has gone up in the past two years, peaking in its most recent survey at 23 percent.
“PRRI has asked this question in eight separate surveys since March 2021,” the report said. “This is the first time support for political violence has peaked above 20%.”
Support for political violence has risen regardless of political party affiliation, the survey found.
One-third of Republicans surveyed believe “patriots” may have to resort to violence, up from 28 percent in 2021. In 2023, 13 percent of Democrats believe violence may have to happen, compared to 7 percent who said so in 2021. Twenty-two percent of independents now say violence may be an option, up from 13 percent two years ago.
The survey found Republicans who hold a favorable view of former President Trump are more likely than Republicans who don’t like Trump to agree “true American patriots” may have to resort to violence to save the country.
Similarly, respondents who believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump are more likely than their counterparts to say patriots may have to resort to violence.
From 2021 to 2023, opinions on the use of violence increased for each religious preference. For example, 33 percent of white evangelical Protestant respondents said violence may be an option, up from 24 percent in 2021. Non-Christian respondents jumped the most, from 9 percent two years ago to 23 percent in 2023.
Other surveys have found data that aligns with the results of the PRRI poll.
A survey conducted by the University of Virginia Center for Politics found that 41 percent of voters who support President Biden say they believe people who support the Republican Party and its ideas have become “so extreme in what they want that it is acceptable to use violence to stop them from achieving their goals.”
Likewise, 38 percent of Trump supporters say it is acceptable to use violence to stop Democrats from achieving their goals.
The PRRI poll was conducted from Aug. 25-30 among 2,525 adults and has a margin of error of 2.19 percentage points.
Source: The Hill